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Tag Archives: Love Your Enemies

Romans 12:14-20

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Romans 12:14-20

Dear God, I’m not sure I’ve ever spent much time with is passage. Romans has never been one of my go-to books, but I came into contact with this passage recently so I wanted to think about it a bit.

My first inclination in reading it is to wonder about motivation. I love the first part of this passage, but then the part where Paul seems to intimate that being nice to them is like heaping burning coals of shame on their heads gives me pause. But if your go back to verse 9, it says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” At the end of the day, if you really love others, those who you only THINK are your enemies will become your legitimate allies, and those who are truly your enemies will likely experience the confusion and shame that Paul describes here.

I can say that my own hate has never been productive, and has always worked to destroy me probably more than the person I hate. It’s one of those great mysteries of grace—it offers freedom to both the forgiver and the forgiven.

Father, make me an instrument of your peace and help me to decrease as you increase. Help me to see others as more important than myself and to live in your love. I have specific things in my heart that are too personal to mention in this open prayer, but you know what I’m thinking. Be God for us all.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2018 in Romans

 

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Matthew 5:43-48

Matthew 5:43-48 NIV
[43] “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ [44] But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. [46] If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? [47] And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? [48] Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Dear God, I chose this passage because of the part in the middle about the sun rising and the rain falling on the righteous and the unrighteous. I forgot that that verse is right in the middle of all of this stuff about loving my enemies.

In this case, I think Jesus is referring to rain and sun as both good things that God gives to everyone, no matter how good or evil. What I’m taking from this is that we are all in this together, and beyond the fact that we share the earth together is the idea that my enemy is still your child and at the most basic level, I need to, at a minimum, be praying that they have a relationship that is as close to you as possible. If I think they are evil, then that is one type of prayer. But if they are a seemingly good person with whom I have simply become at odds then that is another type of prayer. And I might have a direct role to play in that person’s life, but if I allow the darkness of bitterness and hate to consume me then I am no good to them, to myself, or to you.

Father, make me an instrument of your peace. It is in pardoning that I am pardoned. Help me to care more about my enemy’s well-being and submit my own ego and demands for my rights to your will.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Matthew

 

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Emails to God – Eye for an Eye (Matthew 5:38-48)

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Dear God, like the previous passage with oaths and marriage, I am going to link the two parts of “eye for an eye” and “love for enemies” together since they seem to go hand-in-hand.

I have not had too many enemies in my life. I will always remember what my dad went through when I was in high school with a lawsuit from an attorney who put together over 2,000 plaintiffs and sued my dad’s company for $50 million. I can’t imagine the stress that this event plus the economic crash that coincided it in the late 80’s put on my dad. I could see it on him, but he also masked it pretty well for us. I learned a lot of things from him through this.

  1. He taught me that it is okay for your family to see you stressed and vulnerable, but, at the same time, you need to hide some of it from them for their own sake. Those who are being led need to feel the confidence of their leader. You CAN be TOO vulnerable.
  2. He taught me that you can forgive your enemies and reconcile. I think there was a lot of hatred for the attorney at the time, but within a couple of years of the lawsuit’s resolution my dad and the attorney became friends.
  3. He taught me to try to objectively find fault in yourself. It didn’t happen immediately, but he ultimately decided that they did have some amount of responsibility in the lawsuit and it wasn’t totally groundless, eventually settling out of court.
  4. He taught me to share my failures with others. I have heard my dad talk about this time in his professional career and he owns the mistakes that his company made during this time. The response I see from that in the people he tells isn’t judgment, but respect, appreciation, and even a little relief as they then feel free to share their failures with them.

Father, thank you for giving me a father who gave me a good example of how to follow you, how to be a faithful husband, how to be a forgiver, and how to be vulnerable. I know he wasn’t perfect. I am not perfect as a father either. I just hope that one day my kids will be able to get past the judgments they feel towards me now (as all teenagers feel towards their parents), and feel like I gave them at least a little of what my dad gave me.

 

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Matthew

 

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